Wednesday, 20 February 2013 02:30
By Delana Isles
Following a day of peaceful elections with little or no reported incidences at polling stations the people of Grenada have spoken and thrown their overwhelming support behind the New National Party (NNP) and Dr. Keith Mitchell and his team, with an historic 15-0 vote.
The landslide victory assures Dr Mitchell a place in Caribbean history books as the only leader in the region to execute such an upset twice within 15 years.
The country held its constitutionally due elections yesterday as it grappled with a high debt overhang and a hard hit tourism sector, brought on by the financial crisis.
"The country has been let down much in the past," were among the first words of the Dr. Keith Mitchell, Prime Minister elect of Grenada just minutes after the announcement of his un-seating Tillman Thomas of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) in the polls.
Speaking with Caribbean Super Station, broadcasted locally on 93.9fm, the newly elected Prime Minister of the New National Party (NNP) said he is humbled at the overwhelming support.
Commenting on how the new NNP government, which campaigned on a platform of job creation to reduce the country's 30% unemployment rate, intends to turn around the economic crisis, Mitchell said it will be a tough one.
"Our people are going to be a priority and rebuilding our businesses and of course our financial institutions- encouraging private, regional and international financial institutions to once again see Grenada as a field of play of investment."
He added this has been one of the problems the country has faced, in that the economy has not grown.
He blamed the attacks on investors and the policies put in place by the former government for this.
"Instead of cooperating and bringing people together we have been attacking people and you will see a big change in that direction in the New National Party," Mitchell promised.
He expressed the honour and humility he and his party feel at the overwhelming support, further promising to bridge the rift created during the campaign between supporters of both parties.
"It has a given me an opportunity for a deep sense of reflection and the tremendous responsibility given to me and the need for us as a team not to let our people down, we cannot afford to, the country has been let down too much," Dr. Mitchell said.
Outgoing Prime Minister, Tillman Thomas, conceding his party's loss even before the official declaration, said his party will continue advocating the policies they feel are beneficial to Grenada.
"We have left a good foundation in governance. I believe we restored integrity in governance. I am proud of what we have done in the last four and a half years. We have to go along with the wishes of the people."
Thomas revealed that now the decision is up to the party on who the leader will be.
"Whatever contribution I can make, I will make. The party will decide on the way forward as to leadership and so on, I don't have to be a leader to make a contribution in the political arena," Thomas said.
The outgoing PM lost his constituency, St. Patrick's East in yesterday's elections.
Thomas has served as Prime Minister since 2008, when he defeated Mitchell at the polls, capturing 11 of the 15 elected seats. Thomas was elected party leader in 2000.
Meanwhile, the Grenadians and Friends Association of Antigua & Barbuda in a statement last evening congratulated Dr Keith Mitchell on the landslide victory.
"While the victory is still fresh, Grenadians must not lose sight of the challenges facing the country that will require all parties and residents to unite to move the country forward," said association President Carol Williams.
The association wished Grenadians all the best as they look forward to the national holiday on Friday announced by Dr Mitchell following his election victory.